Flipping a Foreclosed House Part 3: Interior

Flipping a Foreclosed House Part 3: Interior

Updating the interior of a foreclosed real estate property for investing purposes means transforming stale walls and dull wallpaper to appeal to modern sensibilities. Follow these tips to help get the most return on your investment without venturing wildly outside of your budget.

Popping Popcorn Ceilings

You’ve just got to get rid of those dreaded eyesores known as popcorn ceilings.


A detestable relic of the 1980s that’s still common in residential homes today, the spray-on ceiling treatment may be a cheap and easy way to finish off a ceiling, but it’s aesthetically the equivalent of comic sans. Fortunately for everyone, removing popcorn ceilings is relatively easy.


First, call your local health department and ask them to help you in getting a sample of your ceiling tested for asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogen that was used in popcorn ceiling installation before the 1980s. If you’re cleared for removal, remove absolutely everything from the room, mist the ceiling with a garden pump sprayer, and start scraping away.


After you’ve successfully removed the popcorn ceilings, you can go a few routes to smooth out your ceiling, including skim coating, making a knock-down texture, or covering the mess with tiles. Tiling is also a good option if you’re not able to strip the popcorn.

Refresh with Wallpaper

“What were they thinking when they posted that awful, tacky wallpaper on their bathroom walls?”


It’s a thought we’ve all had when walking through a house, sometimes even our own. Luckily, wallpaper isn’t forever. Today, wallpaper is designed to either be sleek, subtle and muted, or stylish, daring and bold. Compared to painting, applying wallpaper can involve less prep work and provide your rooms with distinctive looks which paint can’t match.


While it’s possible to slap new wallpaper over the old wallpaper if it’s free of air bubbles and wrinkles, you might feel more comfortable with just stripping off the old wallpaper. There are a number of ways to strip old wallpaper, including using a steamer, a concentrated removal solution, and as a last resort, scrapping with a broad knife. After you’ve freed your walls, wash and wipe them down with a moist sponge and give them a few days to dry out.


While you’re waiting for your walls to dry out, you can shop for some new wallpaper to install, from vinyl–which is perfect for high moisture areas like kitchens and bathrooms–to non-woven paper and fabric materials which work well for bedrooms and hallways.


When ordering the amount, make sure you’ve measured correctly and that you round your measurements up so you’ll have extra paper for your inevitable mistakes. When you’re ready to start applying your wallpaper, you don’t want to have to go running back to the store for extra supplies, including a wallpaper sweep and extra razors. Prior to application, it’s not a bad idea to lightly sand your walls. A smooth surface means fewer air bubbles, wrinkles and crinkles to combat. If you do see some air bubbles as you work or once you finish, don’t panic! These will gradually disappear on their own as the adhesive dries, but if they don’t, you can just pop them with a small needle.

Painting the Walls

Prefer painting to wallpapering? You’re not alone; many people find painting to be easier than applying wallpaper. It also incurs fewer expenses than installing wallpaper, especially if you opt to do the painting yourself rather than hiring a professional. The downside to painting is that it involves a little more preparation, including spackling and washing walls, as well as applying primer. Painting is also not as durable as wallpaper, making it susceptible to scrapes and bumps.


Just like with wallpapering, you’ll need to clean your walls before applying paint. You should also have all your painting materials with you, including painter’s tape, primer, a painting tray, a paint roller, a paintbrush, a ladder, and enough paint to get the job done.



These simple interior fixes can greatly improve the return on investment on your foreclosed property, transforming it from a nightmare to a daydream. By performing all of these repairs and upgrades yourself, you’ll not only gain invaluable skills and experience, but you’ll be able to save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in labor expenses. And since the home is already foreclosed, you shouldn’t feel bad if you mess up. However, if you feel unsafe tackling any of the projects, spend the extra cash to hire a professional and choose to save in other areas. Safety is extremely important when renovating!


After you fix up the interior, you can start looking at how you can spruce up the exterior.

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